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Keys to Leadership

Leadership Attributes


Leadership Lessons from Xenophon 

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The First Systematic Book on Leadership
Xenophon authored the first systematic book on leadership, two thousand years ago, and it is still one of the best. Xenophon was a general. Xenophon practiced leadership in a different time and a different place, but the lessons of his experiences, the principles or laws of integrity, commitment, duty and the others have eternal value.
Leadership Lessons of Xenophon
Leadership is done from in front. Never ask others to do what you, if challenged, would not be willing to do yourself.
Authority flows to the one who knows: a leader must be technically and professionally competent in his or her field. You must know your business. This is the necessary condition for winning respect and trust.
Lead by example: a leader shares fully in the risks, hardships and dangers of the army or workforce.
A leader inspires others by encouraging them in times of difficulty or challenge, expressing confidence in them and their ability to surmount the hurdles before them. You can lift people's spirits with a word of encouragement and support.
A leader reminds people of why they are working and striving for self, family and comrades certainly, but for that which transcends self.
A leader has to be firm and just in maintaining necessary order. Without a certain toughness in this regard you will not win the respect of the group as a whole.
A leader should show humanity, a basic empathy with people. Rejoice with others when any good befalls them, and sympathize when ills overtake them, as they can us all. Give practical help to individual team members in any kind of need where you can do so.
Above all, a leader is there at the right time and place. Never underestimate the positive influence that your very presence can exert in a situation.


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Motivating through Communicating Your Strategic Focus

Motivation depends on having clear objectives. Since motivation is personal, aim to align staff's individual drives with the company's purposes in general and your unit's in particular. "Most companies are filled with people who have no clue of the big picture what the organization is really trying to accomplish and because they don't feel that they or their contributions are important, they do their job... and nothing more, say Jason Jennings and Laurence Haughton. To unleash the power of your organization and achieve exceptional results, you must empower employees and motivate them to follow through on your strategic focus. Your business will be able to bring new products/services to the market much faster if "everyone within the organization had their heart and soul wrapped up in taking aim and shooting at the same target". 

Creating an Inspiring Vision

A vision has two functions: directional and motivational. The main task of a leader is creating a clear and exciting vision for the future and communicating it in such a way that other eventually see the vision belonging to them and join the crusade.

Take the time to think through and develop a clear picture of where you want the organization to be in the future, then communicate your vision in an inspiring and enduring way. Verbal communication is not enough however. You should live your vision and be seen living it.

"Not the cry but the flight of the wild duck leads the flock to fly and to follow," says a Chinese proverb. Great visions inspire, energize and motivate people to give of their best. Participation motivates. People are excited about being a part of something great. "Every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, 'Make me feel important.' If you can do that, you'll be a success not only in business but in life as well," says Mary Kay Ash.

Use Your Creative Energy To Energize Others

Don't follow the market, lead it. Use your creative energy to energize others. "Creative energy whispers 'edge energy', the next collective movement and direction. No one can touch the true country and white light of inspiration for a false goal. You can't dive into the deep-down, belly place of pure creativity while peeking over your shoulder to monitor the preferences of strangers," advises Tama J. Kieves, a carrier coach and the author of This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love.